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12 Minute ReadEducation by Jo Waters & Jess Lacey
15.10.21 (Updated 22.09.22)
Pharmacy and health food stores are groaning with vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies which claim to ease symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, and improve post menopause health. But how much relief can natural ingredients give you during menopause and are they safe?
With many herbals there’s no guarantee about what ingredients are actually in the pack, or what dose. A few products contain actives which are standardised and validated to work as a medicine; but the majority are little more than uncharacterised plant dust.
This is why the NICE Guideline on Menopause is so cautious about herbal remedies. They recommend quite rightly that doctors should explain to women that “the quality, purity and constituents are unknown”. But the reality is that the majority of doctors are not trained in supplements, so aren’t able to recommend an optimal protocol to help women navigate menopause, with or without HRT.
Here’s your ultimate and honest guide to the best scientifically proven natural menopause treatments that really work.
Our bodies’ inbuilt anti-inflammatory hormone - oestrogen, starts to drop during menopause. The result is regular bouts of inflammation, especially in the joints. Taking turmeric goes some way to reduce this inflammation thanks to its abundance of curcuminoid compounds, the most notable of which is curcumin. Research suggests that curcumin reduces the inflammation that causes joint pain, stiffness and sore muscles. The benefits of turmeric don’t end there though, it’s also thought to revive ageing skin and might even be beneficial to sufferers of psoriasis, another side effect of menopause.
Turmeric helps maintain a healthy body during the menopause but only when taken in the right form and daily dosage. The complication with turmeric extract is that in its organic form, it’s a placebo that’s not readily absorbed by the body. Many of the water-soluble turmeric extracts are also ineffective as the majority of the ingredient is made up of the carrier system to make it water soluble, leaving little space for the beneficial curcuminoids. HydroCurc is a cleverly engineered and patented form of turmeric that is 100% water soluble and its carrier system only accounts for 15% of the total ingredient, leaving plenty of room for the curcuminoids. LYMA, includes a 600mg dose of HydroCurc, which is proven to be the daily dose required for physiologically benefits.
Saffron is an excellent herb for menopause symptoms aiding sleep, low mood and anxiety. There are no proven side-effects of taking saffron supplements but an optimal dosage and effective delivery system is key. LYMA uses a patented formula of saffron extract, Affron®, dosed at an optimal 28mg; for maximum efficacy. The first saffron extract on the market to be supported with peer-reviewed clinical evidence, six medical studies to date have demonstrated the positive benefits of Affron® across mood and sleep quality in healthy adults. The efficacy of Affron® has also been demonstrated for use in conjunction with adults who are taking antidepressants to decrease side effects.
Saffron is well tolerated and doesn’t cause drowsiness, making it an effective alternative to prescription sleep medication and other sedative-based sleep supplements. Recent studies show that saffron reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol and boosts the natural production of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin, putting the body in a more restful state for deeply restorative sleep.
Not reserved only for our mental states though, saffron’s anti-inflammatory qualities make it a beneficial natural treatment for menopausal joint pain and stiffness and has also shown to both increase libido and reduce vaginal dryness and discomfort during menopause, which affect roughly half of all menopausal women.
Ashwaghanga is formulated into the majority of menopause supplements due to its well-documented sleep and relaxation benefits. Having been used for over 4,000 years, Ashwagandha is definitely still among the best natural remedies for menopause symptoms. Ashwagandha root extract, (also known as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry or winter cherry), is an adaptogen; a herb that helps the body cope better with stress, anxiety and poor sleep, - all common menopause symptoms. A randomised controlled trial found a daily Ashwagandha dose produced significant reductions on all stress assessment scales for people with chronic stress. The KSM-66® Ashwagandha in LYMA is dosed at the scientifically proven level of 600mg, and has shown to effectively reduce stress, anxiety and achieve a more restful sleep state.
Keratin is a protein present in every one of our organs and constitutes the key building blocks in our hair, nails and skin. Female keratin levels are intrinsically buoyed by oestrogen; the hormone responsible for luscious hair, glowing skin and strong nail growth. However, when oestrogen significantly declines during menopause, experts explain that keratin bonds are weakened, making hair and nails brittle and skin increasingly dull. As such, keratin is a often formulated into menopause supplements but the quality, dosage and consequent results vary greatly. Cynatine® HNS (Hair, Nails, Skin) is a revolutionary solubilised keratin formulated into The LYMA Supplement and randomised trials have proven its efficacy at a 500mg daily dose.
Wellmune® is a patented yeast beta glucan scientifically proven to boost immune health. Beta glucans have been greatly depleted from modern diets and when present, are often not in the correct molecular structure to be effective.
Wellmune® is a standardised and validated 1-3, 1-6 beta glucan absorbed by the body's immune cells, which then travels to key immune organs throughout the body. A preventive approach to ensure future health, Wellmune® creates a more resilient physical state able to withstand minor illness and ward against the potential onset of degenerative diseases.
One of the most common menopause symptoms is dry, sensitive skin and this can often lead to accelerated signs of ageing like fine lines and wrinkles. Oestrogen is largely responsible for the natural luminosity and bounce of skin and when oestrogen levels fall during menopause, skin starts to thin, losing its resilience and ability to be an effective protective barrier. Lycopene is a carotenoid; a pigment naturally found in plants that protects organisms against oxidative stress and it’s been found to do the same for our skin, slowing down the formation of wrinkles and fine lines, therefore filling the gap that oestrogen leaves. Lycopene has also been proven in medical papers to possess an aptitude for reducing inflammation not only in the skin, but throughout the human body.
Tomatoes, carrots, watermelons, goji berries and pink grapefruits are rich in lycopene and therefore beneficial to eat but concentrations are too low to make a definitive improvement to skin. Studies show that surprisingly, the more thermal processing a tomato goes through, the more bioavailability of the lycopene content.
Gaining a concentration high enough to be useful to the body is why LYMA formulated Lycored Lycopene™ into their gold standard health Supplement. Lycored Lycopene™ is a patented and highly concentrated form of lycopene, microencapsulated in a unique delivery system that the body can effectively use. Proven in over 20 peer-reviewed pre-clinical and clinical studies, Lycored Lycopene™ is a powerful antioxidant shown to increase skin elasticity and skin resilience for a more youthful, hydrated appearance.
Citicoline is a chemical generated naturally in the cell membranes of our brains which is a much more reliable brain stimulant than ginseng. Our innate supply of citicoline becomes depleted during menopause but a formulated version of it called Cognizin®, has very strong evidence to suggest it could be the world’s best nootropic enhancing cognitive function, memory recollection and mood. A game-changer for menopausal women suffering from the frustrations of brain fog and lack of concentration, Cognizin® is one of the power ingredients in LYMA; reigniting the neural pathways of the brain and offering clarity of thinking.
Synthesised by sunshine, something in short supply in the Western hemisphere, Vitamin D3 is needed for healthy bones, bolstered immunity and quality sleep. The Department of Health recommends anyone aged four or over should take a 10mcg supplement during the autumn and winter months, when exposure to sunlight is insufficient to make enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D3 is also vital in menopause supplements as it contributes to bone health and the risk of osteoporosis grows during this time of life following the marked reduction of oestrogen. Although it comes from a different family of molecules to D3, Vitamin K2 has similar benefits to menopausal women. This is due to its positive effect on maintaining good bone mineral density and keeping strong bones that are more liable to fracture during menopause.
Taken in combination, Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2 enhance each other’s effects, which is why they’re formulated in tandem within The LYMA Supplement. Vita-algae D3™ is the world’s most bioavailable source of vitamin D derived from algae and helps to support the brain, immune and nervous systems, with studies showing how it can regulate mood and reduce the symptoms of depression. K2VITAL® DELTA works in conjunction with this, improving bone density and cardiovascular health.
It’s important to be aware before you buy supplements that just because something is plant based, it doesn’t mean you should assume it’s safe. Shockingly companies are not legally obliged to do this. A quick shortcut is to look for patented ingredients – generally if something is patented it has time, money and clinical trials invested in it.
Another tip to look out for is the THR (Traditional Herbal Registration) logo on the pack. This means the product has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, has the correct dosage of the right ingredients, and meets current safety criteria. However, the MHRA’s THR scheme does not assess effectiveness and some of its information is out of date.
Many supplements don’t work because they don’t contain enough of the right compounds, or because they are in a form that the body cannot absorb.
The law – which lags behind the science by a good half-century – prevents herbal supplements from making any health claims at all. In the absence of any guidelines, the only way you can check if something works, is to research it yourself. Go to pubmed or GoogleScholar, type in the patented name and check out the clinical trial(s) yourself. If an extract is patented, that is generally a good thing because it means that the extract was worth studying and developing. The clinical trials will also tell you what dosage was used, and what doses work. Sometimes they tell you what didn’t work too, which is just as important.
Menopause manifests itself in different ways in everyone who goes through it. However, there are many recognised symptoms and most can usually be improved or eliminated altogether by supplements.
There are so many supplements out there for menopause that it’s often about finding the one that’s best for you and your symptoms – paying close attention to the advice of your GP and any specialists caring for you. Do your research and take the time to investigate the quality and dosage of each ingredient listed on the back of the bottle. LYMA is a gold standard, evidence based nutraceutical backed by science; all our ingredients are patented to the highest quality and dosed at the proven level. Country & Townhouse Magazine consider the LYMA Supplement as the best for an overall health boost and that can only be good news if you’re going through menopause.
Vitamin D3 is the vitamin generated by the skin upon exposure to sunlight and it’s important in promoting good bone health, mood and weight which can be affected by menopause – provided it is manufactured and sold by reputable companies.
The B vitamins are found in a wide range of foods, including red meat, eggs, fish, cheese, peanuts and bananas so there isn't necessarily a need to take them, unless prescribed by your doctor.
Magnesium is available in a wide range of foods including nuts, beans, leafy greens, lentils and dark chocolate which is why we have decided at LYMA not to include this ingredient to our formula. Also, our experts have found out it’s extremely rare for anyone with a regular diet to have a magnesium deficiency.